Is It Time To Look Beyond 2011?

It’s odd how a struggling team seems to elicit more talking points than one having success and the Chargers are no exception to this quirky phenomenon. Teams that are winning are talking about their upcoming match-ups and potential postseason opponents while the topics in San Diego are much more dire like will Head Coach Norv Turner survive the rest of the season or would it be better for this team to keep losing and ensure a higher draft choice (as well as his eventual dismissal).

Although the murmurs are always present about teams potentially tanking the remainder of their season to obtain a draft pick further up the pecking order, the fact remains that many of the guys in the Bolts’ locker room are playing for their jobs. Even the ones who will inevitably not be retained by the team are trying to put their best effort out on the field for an audition of sorts with other clubs.

With the Chargers at 4-7 and all but mathematically eliminated from contention at this point, the question must be asked if the overall health of the franchise would be better served with five losses to finish the season rather than wins.

The fact is that the Bolts desperately need offensive line help and could greatly benefit from a pick near the top of the draft to fix quarterback Philip Rivers’ faulty pass protection. Injuries have clearly been part of the problem up front, but there is no doubt that an upgrade at right tackle has been long overdue and depth all along the unit would be greatly appreciated.

Injuries have ravaged more than just the line this year with wideout Malcom Floyd still sidelined by a nagging hip injury and tight end Antonio Gates missing a few games earlier in the year with his toe issues. Rivers could clearly use a more vast selection of weapons on offense and the team could always go in that direction with a draft pick in the first half of round one.

There is no doubt the team has missed the explosive element of Darren Sproles on offense in 2011 and talents like him don’t just appear out of nowhere. The club could use a multi-dimensional player capable of lining up anywhere and being a legitimate threat to go the distance when the ball is in his hands.

Problems at the linebacker and secondary levels have also been highly noticeable throughout the year which gives the team a number of different options in the draft’s first round.

It is never fun to talk draft with a month of football still left on the regular season schedule, but that appears to be the reality facing the Bolts at this moment. Decisions have to be made at nearly every position on the roster and the organization needs to put the correct people in place to make those moves.

The pesky question remains; would this team be better off losing the rest of their games with the playoffs likely out of reach or is maximum effort the only way to go at this point? Which areas do you think require the most attention this offseason by whomever is in charge of the personnel department? Please leave your feedback in the comments section below!

November 30, 2011

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